Honeywell’s UOP Establishes Renewable Energy and Chemicals Unit; Synthetic Renewable Diesel Targeted for 2007
|Processing routes for vegetable oils and grease. Click to enlarge.|
UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, has established a new business unit dedicated to introducing new technology for processing renewable energy sources in existing or new petroleum refineries worldwide.
The new unit, called Renewable Energy and Chemicals, will accelerate UOP’s already existing efforts to develop renewable energy technologies by developing profitable ways refineries can use UOP’s petroleum processing technologies to convert bio-feedstocks such as vegetable oils, greases and certain waste products, into fuel and chemicals.
UOP developed every major step change in refining technology over the past 90 years. Processing bio-derived feedstocks is the cornerstone of what will be another major step forward. We continue to invest resources as part of our overall commitment to our own sustainability goals and to improving the economics and flexibility of refinery operations worldwide.—Carlos Cabrera, President and CEO of UOP
UOP’s development efforts have targeted the creation of transportation biofuels which can be used with the existing diesel and gasoline fuel infrastructure. In 2004, UOP received funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for a study that identified a number of opportunities for biorenewables in petroleum refineries.
|Biodiesel and “Green Diesel” Properties|
|UOP Green Diesel|
|% change in NOx emission||+10||0 to -10|
|Cloud point °C||-5||-5 to -30|
|Distillation 10-90% pt||340-355||265-320|
The study determined that co-processing vegetable oils with petroleum feedstocks can produce gasoline and olefins, the building blocks for producing plastics and other materials. UOP Fluid Catalytic Cracking, or FCC, technology can offer refineries this capability.
The study also showed that UOP’s technologies can be used to convert vegetable oils to high-cetane synthetic renewable diesel fuel, also called “Green Diesel.” This technology is expected to be commercially available in early 2007.
|Biodiesel and “Green Diesel”|
Feeds and Yields
|UOP Green Diesel|
|% Oil or Grease||100||100|
|% water, CO2||–||12-16|
|% Lt HC||–||2-5|
|Operating cost $/gal||.05||.025|
The work identified the production of synthetic renewable diesel through hydrotreating vegetable oil and grease as one of the best options for refiners, agricultural producers, and forest products producers. (This “second-generation” biofuels approach is similar to that in the Neste Oil NExBTL process. Earlier post.) The study found that this “Green Diesel” has superior product properties, requires less capital investment to produce, and has a lower life-cycle environmental impact (LCA) than biodiesel.
The study found that Green Diesel is economically attractive under two conditions:
- Using a low-cost feedstock such as brown grease; or
- If vegetable oil feedstocks are subsidized.
Green gasoline and green olefins, which are produced by cracking vegetable oils and grease in an FCC unit, are also economically attractive, particularly if eligible for subsidies.
UOP collaborated on this project with DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab and Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL).
Separately, UOP teamed with PNNL in 2004 to deliver technology for converting glycerol, a by-product from converting vegetable oil to biodiesel, to higher value propylene glycol.
UOP’s Renewable Energy and Chemicals unit also plans to identify and evaluate technologies for refineries that use other renewable energy sources.
Opportunities for Biorenewables in Petroleum Refineries (presentation)
Opportunities for Biorenewables in Petroleum Refineries (final technical report)